The first public MAME release (0.1) was on February 5, 1997, by Nicola Salmoria. The emulator now supports over seven thousand unique games and ten thousand actual ROM image sets, though not all of the supported games are playable.
Multi Emulator Super System (MESS) is an emulator for many game consoles and computer systems, based on the MAME core. MESS emulates portable and console gaming systems, computer platforms, and calculators. The project strives for accuracy and portability and therefore is not always the fastest emulator for any one particular system. However, its accuracy makes it useful for homebrew game development.
MESS supports 668 unique systems with 1748 total system variations and is constantly growing. However, not all of the systems in MESS are functional; some are marked as non-working or are in development. MESS was first released in 1998 and has been under constant development since.
MAME and MESS are separate applications, but are now developed and released together from a single source repository. MAMEDEV member David Haywood maintains and distributes UME (Universal Machine Emulator) which combines much of the functionality of MAME and MESS in a single application. Anyone who downloads the complete source package from MAMEDEV.ORG can compile the parent project MAME (make), MESS (make TARGET=mess) or, of course, UME (make TARGET=ume). This UME build options allows users more for what would be less space than MAME and MESS would occupy alone due to shared core components.